Ten Hag: We aim for trophies in 2023
Despite Manchester United's recent perfect form, Erik ten Hag isn't resting and says he expects excellence from his side once again, as the Reds prepare to take on Bournemouth at Old Trafford on this evening (3 January).
United welcome the Cherries to the Theatre of Dreams for a 20:00 GMT kick-off, having defeated Wolves 1-0 away on New Year's Eve.
Ahead of the upcoming clash against Gary O'Neil's team, Erik sat down with club media to discuss the threat the south coast side pose.
The Dutchman also reflected on 2022, looked forward to the new year and spoke about his plans for the January window, among other topics.
Read on to find out what Erik said in his exclusive Matchday Q&A...
When looking back at 2022, what are the high points that stand out – winning the title at Ajax for example, becoming United manager or any particular wins?
"It’s always about trophies. It’s not about looking too much to yourself, it’s about looking to your family and looking to trophies. That’s what I did and always will do, so looking back, I’m happy and I’m happy with my family - we are satisfied and settled in Manchester so I’m happy with that. But when I look at sporting [highlights] then it’s definitely trophies and that is also what we aim for in 2023."
Are you somebody who sets New Year’s resolutions, professionally or personally?
"Yeah, professionally, it’s what I just mentioned, it’s about trophies. We are not, at this moment in the season, thinking too much about that, for now it’s about getting into a position where you can win trophies. It’s a long way, especially this season, we are not even halfway yet, there are many games to come. So don’t focus too much on what can happen, it’s about thinking game to game."
We’ve won our last six matches at Old Trafford and it’s becoming a real fortress again. What do you put that down to and was that one of your aims when you arrived?
"Yeah definitely, it has to be [a fortress]. We want to be resilient and we want to be playing with discipline in our game, we expressed that with 11 in attack and 11 in defence. It’s about doing your job, being hard to beat in every duel as a team, in every game, and we are heading in the right direction. So we are happy with that, but we can’t be satisfied as we don’t want any laziness and laziness means the performances will drop. So we have to keep focused and keep improving on details and keep getting better every day because good is not good enough."
What kind of challenge do you expect from a Bournemouth side hoping to improve in 2023?
"It’s a team who can surprise and we have to be ready for that. They’re a good squad with a good team and they can score a goal, and if you’re not ready for the game then you will always have problems especially against Bournemouth as they have already shown that."
Finally, the transfer window is open for a month and you’ve spoken a lot about a striker potentially coming in. But do you foresee any outgoings, or young players going on loan?
"I can’t tell you nothing about that. Definitely we have a good squad and especially in this moment we have a good team. But there are so many games coming and we need a squad for that and also to get a better balance in the squad, we are aiming for that. We are always looking for better. We are orientating and we are making an effort to strengthen the squad, but I can’t tell you anything about it in this moment. When we can do, we will do it straight away."